by Paulette Powell
Charlie couldn’t stop talking about the crows, “The crows, I’ve never seen anything like it before! I tell you, hundreds, weighing down the tree limbs… when it was over, all of a sudden, the whole flock flew away.”
He’d taken several snapshots of the family. On second inspection, I could see Charlie’s signature style, “photo victims” standing in obedience, as though his pic would be featured in the Telegraph magazine. It was always about presentation, even if it weren’t the truth. He was good at directing and folks would comply.
A family portrait. There was Uncle Peter, the poet, and sweet Aunt Elizabeth. Cousins, David and Emma, who once visited us in NYC, right after David’s great bump on the head that proved a miracle awakening. Brother Benedict, looking like a Hell’s Angel, his aura of defiance fighting his English attire. Alongside conservative sister in law, Liz, whose gray hair and glasses were neatly packaged in school teacher manner, revealed Benedict wasn’t really the black sheep to marry a practical spouse. The Parents, were located in the center. “Mum”, a tormented matriarch, who did her best to bare a heavy cross of a sick girl. Her face still revealed a handsome woman, a diplomat’s wife. And “Dad”, who seemed always distant, unattainable for family but faithful to Kate. His eyes revealed a deep sadness beneath a hard exterior, betrayed the knighted war hero. He wasn’t made of stone, but marble layers of duty kept him locked away, sentencing him to a numb existence.